Saturday, May 25, 2024 -
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This is not a dream, this is not a mistake, this is not a lie

Never have I said that a book was excellent in every way — moving, meaningful, graceful, accessible, beautifully laid out, impossible to put down — and also said: Don’t read it.

Don’t pick it up.

It is too painful.

Excruciating.

It’s impossible to put down — and you’re not the same person when you do.

You’re torn up.

Beyond grief.

Devastated.

No one told me that before I picked it up.

So I have looked into hell.

And into Heaven.

Both, truly, are impossible for flesh and blood, for a being of this earth.

I never thought I could write this, or even think it, but, truly, it seems that there is no other explanation: They were chosen.

It was not random.

It looked that way. Oh how life looks that way. The car accident. The windfall. The illness. The things that stand out — they just happen, it so overwhelmingly seems.

Even more overwhelming is the sense from reading this epitome of beauty and this epitome of terror — this book, Princes Among Men: Memories of Eight Young Souls (Feldheim).

Shooting this way and that, terrorist, no one to stop him, chaos, security procedures broken, shooting in the library, wildly, shooting somewhere else, this one hit, that one not, suddenly, a soldier gets it and takes his pistol and shoots the shooter dead.

Random — the very picture of randomness, it can very blatantly, very plausibly seem.

But not afterward.

Not after the knife that tears at you in reading Princes Among Men.

Random?

Princes — random? They were not random, not in life, not in death.

About them it is terrifying to write, I never thought I would: Their deaths seem anything but random. Rather, only this: Chosen.

“In my holy ones I am sanctified, bi-kerovai Ekadeish

Each one of these boys — the more one sees them, the more perspectives disclosed about them, the memories they left behind, the telling snippets from their lives, their effect on others, their beyond-this-world maturity, character, thirst for G-d — selected.

Chosen.

Which second grader writes a note to his teacher asking her not to intrude too much on the Torah curriculum with other topics, because each moment needs to be devoted to growing closer to G-d?

Second grader. Yes.

The eight princes, the eight young souls, are the eight young men, some really just boys, as young as 15, killed on March 8, 2008, in the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

By a Palestinian terrorist.

An evil imitation of a human being.

(That, though, is I; I speak of evil. It’s a concept hardly found in Princes Among Men. The chosen, and those around them, hardly relate to the killer and to what he represents, but to the killed, and what they represent.)

The pain this book causes is more than a matter of tears welling up, more than wanting to cry. This is beyond tears (though they flow freely). This is beyond — in the gaping, gaping holes left behind, in the immeasurable dimensions of the loss, of eight boys whom one would probably pass by on the street, ordinary looking, nothing special in the externals. But whose middot, whose character, whose love of G-d, seem impossible to fit into this world.

Eight princes — gone.

The tangible, the physical, sparkle, and depth — missing, forever.

How their relatives carry on, I do not understand.

Even more, how they contributed to this book, how they remained settled even for minutes, let alone hours, to write this, clearly, gracefully, powerfully; to gather their memories, edit them, polish them; to convey the unfathomable levels on which these boys lived, I do not get.

The difficulty is too great to face — and I am just a reader.

How could they write this, live it, relive it?

If you fail to heed my advice and pick up this book, you, too, will relive it.

Spare yourself.

They are with G-d.

Enough.

They were chosen.

He chose them.

A frightening notion.

But, after reading this, an inescapable conclusion.

I recoil from the dread in the Presence of G-d.

Let us be chosen, yes, of course, but let us be chosen for life!

Neriya Cohen

Neriya Cohen
Born, Feb. 3, 1993.
Died, March 6, 2008.
Age, 15.
Point of origin: Jerba, six generations ago; then, Old City, Jerusalem.

From his friends:

“ . . . Lag b’Omer, three years ago. Our whole group spent the night together, and at six in the morning, we were ready to go home.

“Neriya, Asher, Yehuda and I were still at the camp fire, and while I was putting it out, I said, ‘Let’s all go to sleep at my house.’ Everyone said, ‘Yeah!’ except for Neriya.

“He said, ‘Let’s go pray at the Kotel [Western Wall], and then we can go to sleep.’

“I said to him, ‘Forget it! Let’s go to sleep, and we can pray later!’

“Everyone sided with me except Neriya, who said, ‘If we don’t pray now, we’ll miss the time for Shema, and maybe we won’t pray at all. I am going to pray right now, and if any of you want to, you can come with me.’ . . . ”

So it continues.

From his sister:

“I know that you have a special role to fulfill up Above, for all of Am Yisrael. You were chosen to speak in favor of our nation.

“I know that this world was too confined for you; you need lots of spiritual space. You need Hashem’s infiniteness — you want that. And now, up Above, you enjoy the brilliance of the Shechinah [Divine Presence] . . . you hear derashot and shiurim [Torah teachings] given by the Holy One, Blessed be He, you are sitting on the first bench . . . so close!

“And we?

“Those of us here below cry. And smile. And cry. And go on.

“I miss you. I know you completed your task in this world. But I still miss you. . . .

“I see you!

“Your smile, your life, your sweetness, and purity. Your love of life. Your Torah! . . . ”

So it continues.

From his camp counselor:

“How can someone jump, sit, and study Torah with such diligence, love and joy? I don’t get it.

“You were the funniest, the most popular, the most beloved by everyone, but you never tried to draw attention to the fact. You were so simple and humble, but not in a quiet, weak way.”

So it continues.

From his teacher:

“Our Neriya, as sweet as honey, with such a pleasant personality, humility, greatness, with a desire for truth and justice, so upright, noble, refined, and polite.

“He loved his friends, and guided them along the true path. While learning, he asked relevant questions, striving to discover the truth.

“He was never satisfied with what wasn’t clear, and was constantly challenging his friends and rabbis to find answers.

“He was incredibly dedicated to his Torah study, beyond the daily schedule of classes and study sessions. . . .

“He loved to investigate and understand down to the smallest detail.

“But he was never haughty, nor did he attempt to stand out above his peers. In his quiet and peaceful manner, he rose toward the greatness he was destined to achieve.”

And so it continues.

Segev Peniel Avichail

Segev Peniel Avichail
Born, June 22, 1992.
Died, March 6, 2008.
Age, 15.
Point of origin: Old City, Jerusalem.

From his own pen, to his mother:?

“May it be G-d’s will that you have many holy children.”

From his own pen, to his second grade teacher:

“I want to ask you if most of your lessons (not all) can be about the holy Torah. That is the reason why I haven’t been paying attention in some of your classes, and also because children are bothering me. Don’t punish anyone — it doesn’t matter who — and don’t even yell at them. I don’t want to hurt you or insult you in any way.”

From his biography:

“A year before his Bar Mitzvah, Segev was injured . . .

“Terrorists emptied whole magazines of bullets shooting at their car from a hilltop observation point above the road.

“Miraculously, Segev and his father survived the attack. A small piece of shrapnel lodged in Segev’s chest, a few centimeters from his heart.

“Though the piece was never removed, the Holy One, Blessed be He, gave Segev three more years of life — years that were significant in terms of growth in Torah and mitzvot, and in terms of maturing from a child to a young man.

“In that time he underwent the transition from the pure state of childhood to the holiness achieved by studying Torah in adolescence. . . .

“He love of Torah and his love of chesed were intertwined on that fateful night.

“He didn’t want to stop studying until he fully comprehended a particularly difficult topic. When he saw the evil terrorist, may his name be blotted out, moving in his direction, he called out to his study partner, his havruta, in an effort to save him.

“But G-d decided that he would continue studying Torah and performing acts of kindness in the Yeshiva Above.”

So it continues.

From his father:

“As he grew into a young man, Segev surpassed us all in spiritual heights.

“His actions reflected his purity and righteousness, his joy of life.

“When he played music for hospital patients, when he expressed his concern for his family and friends, and above all, the might of his Torah, and his holy ascent to the status of a talmid chacham [Talmud scholar] at such a young age.

“For a long while, I stood on the sidelines, in awe of the depth of his speculation and thoughts.

“It happened on more than one occasion that, as we studied Shev Shematata [legendary for its complexity], and then afterward, Minchat Chinuch, he would quote sources from the Gemara and from the Rishonim [medieval authorities].

“Segev was full of longing for the ‘sweetness of Shabbat,’ for the state of perfection that only the future can bring, and in all of his notebooks he wrote about the ‘Day of Shabbat’ and what that day entailed.

“He fulfilled with his whole self the commandment to ‘remember the day of Shabbat’ every day. As the Chayyei Adam wrote, ‘The holiness of Shabbat carries over to all the other days of the week . . . for that is the central source of energy that sustains the other days.’”

So it continues.

From his friend:

“It is the night of the 20th of Adar, 2008. I am sitting in room 9, in dormitory 6, thinking . . . about the room that was full of light — five friends — and how 20 days ago, everything went dark. Of the five, only three remain.”

And so it continues.


Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar

Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar
Born, Feb. 27, 1992.
Died, March 6, 2008.
Age, 16.
Point of origin: Shilo.

From his mother and sister:

“He sent questions, by e-mail and SMS, to Rabbi Elchanan Ben Nun, the rabbi of Shilo, to Rabbi Ara’le Harel, the rosh yeshiva, to Rabbi Aviner and to Rabbi Yaakov Ariel. He explained that the reason he wrote to so many different rabbis was that he didn’t want to bother any of them too often. . . .

“On rosh chodesh Adar, after the massive prayer gathering at the Kotel [Western Wall], Yonatan went back to the yeshiva. After supper, he went to study daf yomi in the library, where he loved so much to study.

“When he finished the page of Gemara, he must have also reviewed the days of his short life, which were so full of Torah and good deeds. For that is when he was shot in the back, and killed instantly.

“The next day, on the eve of the holy Sabbath, he was buried in the earth in Shilo, in the cemetery that overlooks the valley in which he so loved to take walks, and his bloodstained Gemara was buried alongside him.

“He left his entire family and the entire world behind, in awe of the level of purity he achieve in his lifetime and at his death.”

So it continues.

From his brother:

“Yonatan, aside from the anguish we are experiencing over our departure, we are also in pain over the disgraceful political situation the leaders of our country have put us in. They are not doing everything in their power to eliminate our enemies.”

So it continues.

From another brother:

“‘When Jonathan, the son of Saul, saved the people of Israel from the Philistines, he broke the vow he made to his father and therefore deserved the punishment of death. As it is written, And the people said unto Saul, shall Jonathan die, who has wrought this great salvation in Israel? Far be it: as G-d exists, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has stood with G-d on this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die.’

“Perhaps in our case, with our Yonatan [Jonathan], we must read the last verse backwards: So Yonatan and his friends, the holy ones, rescued the people, while they died.”

So it continues.

From another brother:

“You were born here in Shilo, in the hills of Ephraim, on the 23rd of Adar I, when the snow was up to our waists.

“Your brit was in Shilo on the 30th of Adar I, and now you are being buried here on the 30th of Adar I, beneath a hot sun.

“You grew up like everyone else here, among the hills of Ephraim, with the heat and the cold, the joy and the sorrow, and here you acquired the spirit that will carry us on to win the war that killed you.

“We will be victorious, not because we are strong, but because we are more determined, and we are right.”

So it continues.

From another brother:

“I am sorry that I will no longer see you sitting in front of the computer, fixing things that nobody but you knows how to.

“I am sorry that I will no longer watch you make a tangle of cords and plugs, in a way that nobody else on earth could ever do.

“How much pleasure I gained from your individuality, the fact that it never bothered you that you were ‘different,’ that you never cared about what was accepted as ‘the norm.’

“How much pleasure I gained from your wit, which made us all fall over with laughter.

“And most of all, how much pleasure I gained from your silence, that was more powerful than words can ever express.”

And so it continues.

Avraham David Moses

Avraham David Moses
Born, Oct. 14, 1991.
Died, March 6, 2008.
Age, 16.
Point of origin: Efrat.

From his father:

“‘And even my covenant with Avraham I will remember . . .’

“‘Remember that you were slaves . . .’

“‘Remember what Amalek did . . .’

“‘In anger remember mercy . . .’

“What do I remember?

“I will begin with his face. His face was the last thing I saw.

“Perhaps it is the last memory I will have of my son that night, after the long journey that began with a telephone call — a report of a terror attack — and moved slowly forward. Updates via the Internet, the trip to the hospital, and then to the yeshiva, to that moment when I finally received the news.

“I saw his face — I identified him. Arms supporting me on both sides, hours after we already knew, hours after Rav Weiss had walked toward me, hugging me as he said, ‘G-d gives, and G-d takes away’ — they asked me to identify him. . . .

“That was the face I saw. The ‘identification’ was a success. Yes, this is my son. For this is how we identify a person — by looking at his face.

“His face was the first thing I saw when he was born. . . .

“What did I see on his face as the years passed?

“I saw him laugh and cry, angry and happy, asleep and awake. I will never forget the look on his face when he slid so fast down that water slide, into my waiting arms. Sunlight reflecting on the water, shade inside the covered slide — whoop! — out he comes. Happy beyond happy, enjoying the thrill of the moment. But can he be happier than his father? A father who relishes the joy of his child. So many images of his face are engraved in my memory. . . .

“But I ask myself, what use are these memories to me without my son? Memory, by nature, accentuates the absence of the one remembered . . .

“During the last months of his life, Avraham David made it a practice not to look directly at his parents or his teachers. He chose to follow a directive from Iggeret haRamban [Nahmanides ethical work] — to lower one’s eyes as a demonstration of respect.

“That particular habit upset me, and I chastised him for it on more than one occasion — while we studied Torah, or while talking of the way he was leading his life. I still wanted to see his face.

“I know that part of growing up is separation, and, of course, parents cannot expect to control their children. But I saw that my son’s face had changed.

Avraham David wanted to reach the depths of Torah — to dive deep into the sea of Talmud. He set a lofty goal for himself — total devotion to G-d. . . .

“Several years ago, during Simchat Torah, a young man I didn’t know approached me, and said that when he watched Avraham David dance, he was filled with hope that when he would one day marry, he too would be blessed with a child who found such joy in the Torah.

“This year, though, my son only danced a little and spent most of the time reviewing the Torah reading, and studying Gemara. He wanted to see the face of G-d, but knew that ‘no man can see My Presence and live.’ He knew that he would have to diminish himself, to submerge himself completely in the realm of Torah. . . .

“Close to the day marking a month since his death, I completed a tractate of Talmud in his memory — the same tractate that my son was studying that night. The last bit of Torah he ever saw. . . .

“I saw his face for the last time after had had already seen the face of eternity, face to face, and had left us forever. . . . ”

And so it continues.

Yochai Lifshitz

Yochai Lifshitz
Born, May 11, 1990.
Died, March 6, 2008.
Age, 17.
Point of origin: Old City, Jerusalem.

From his father, at the grave:

“We, the entire family — your Mother, Father, brothers, sister, Grandfather Yisrael, Grandfather Uri and Grandmother Duba, want to say one thing only to you, Yochai — thank you.

“Thank you for what you were and for giving us almost 18 years.

“You fulfilled the meaning of the verse of the sages: ‘And the man went up from his city, and became greater than his household, greater even than his town, greater even than his city, greater even than all Israel. And all of his greatness came only from his own efforts.’”

So it continues.

From his father, 30 days later:

“It is customary to quote Rabbi Avraham I. Kuk:

Just as the Sages wrote that the seal of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is truth, since man is created in the image of G-d so his seal is also truth. A man’s inner truths are the basis of his personality and serve as his “seal” in life.

For as long as a seal or stamp is held against a piece of paper, its letters are not visible. But when the stamp is lifted, then all is revealed — every letter appears for anyone to behold. During a person’s lifetime, what is hidden is much greater than what is revealed. . . . But after a person dies, then his personality is fully revealed for all to see. . . .

“Within the inner circle of those who were closest to you, you will remain with us forever, for as long as we live and breathe. You have left us your true seal.”

So it continues.

From his teacher:

“You always arrived early for prayers . . . Not many were keen on leading the prayers, and so because somebody had to, you were often the one who did. I used to say to you with a smile, ‘Leave something for the others . . . ‘I had no idea that you would leave so many tasks for your friends to fulfill . . . ”

So it continues.

From his roommate:

“I once asked you to study daf yomi with me, and you said you didn’t have time. I tried to find time that you could study with me, for example, after lunch, but you didn’t have any free time at all. You followed a precise schedule the whole day. . . .

“After the Friday night meal, when everyone sang in unison Y-ah Echsof, you would tell me to stay, because the singing was very powerful. Because you asked me to, I did stay several times, and it was a very pleasant experience. Now, whenever someone sings that song, I feel double and triple the energy. I feel your presence, and this is a pleasant sensation.”

So it continues.

From his friend:

“I first met Yochai in ninth grade, when he was my study partner (havruta) in the evening. Sometimes I would get distracted or start daydreaming, but Yochai always kept on studying and explaining, and never moved his eyes away from the Gemara. Even when I listened to him, it was hard to keep up with his pace, and I had to review everything a second time, more slowly . . .”

So it continues.

From another friend:

“Yochai arrived at the study hall at exactly quarter to seven. Not once did he fail. Since his Bar Mitzvah, he had never missed praying with a minyan

From another friend:

“You were so meticulous . . . and fulfilled all of your tasks thoroughly and with seriousness, without neglecting any detail.

“Another impressive trait you had was your tendency to ‘say little and do much.’ The jerrycans had to be put away after a field trip — Yochai did it. The study hall needed to be set up for a Rosh Chodesh party — Yochai was there. Without complaining, without taking shortcuts.”

So it continues.

From another friend:

“I miss you so much, Yochai, you were like a big brother who took care of me. I will miss your help, your listening ear, your seriousness, your gentleness, and your purity.”

And so it continues.

Roei Roth


Roei Roth
Born, Sept. 12, 1989.
Died, March 6, 2008.
Age, 18.
Point of origin: Old City, Jerusalem.

From his friend:

“This is not a dream, this is not a mistake, this is not a lie.

“That is what I tell myself, over and over again, but my heart refuses to believe. It can’t be he. He is invincible.

“He always was stronger than any terrorist, immune to every bullet, more powerful than anyone. It can’t be Roei.

“Memories begin to run through my head. . . . A memory of a single glance that could stop an enemy short in his tracks, a glance that could wipe out every trace of hate, a glance that could eradicate all the evil in the world. One glance — and the evil one would disappear in a cloud of smoke. Roei . . . a guide . . . a leader . . . a hero . . . it can’t be Roei!

“A memory of a hug that makes you feel like you are the only person in the world. A memory of love for every living creature, on land in the sky, and in the ocean, but above all, love for people. A memory of a face that was never without a smile, an expression of love that he always carried in his heart; an expression that was calming to anyone who gazed upon him; an expression that said, Truth and peace. Aaron [the High Priest] . . . who loved peace and pursued peace . . . who loved all creatures and drew them closer to Torah . . . it can’t be Roei.

“ . . . And all the memories and all his expressions rush toward me from some distant place.

“Wherever I am, and wherever I go, the images of his face follow me, accompany me.

“He leads me by the hand, illuminating my way. He illuminated the whole world, his light will never be extinguished.

“It will remind us that there is still good in the world, much good, and there can be even more. There is might, and there is love. There is perfection, and there is humility. There is truth, and there is compassion. There is good, and there is Torah.

“As I review my memories, one after another, I know that they will remain memories forever and ever. Because this is not a dream, this is not a mistake, this is not a lie. This is real. It is Roei.”

From his rabbi:

“I see before my eyes the image of you praying, and recall how your prayers shook everyone of us to the core. On Shabbat you sang songs of praise to G-d with such intense devotion. You were so diligent in your studies, and you had such a strong desire to learn more and more Torah.

“But one special characteristic stood out above all the others, and that is the way you conducted yourself, Roei. Whatever you were doing and wherever you happened to be, you were conscious of the fact that you were ‘standing before G-d.’ . . .

“Your friend related that he once saw you standing next to the dormitory stairs, smiling. When he asked for an explanation, you replied:

“‘You have no idea how happy I am to see these steps.’

“From those steps, our dear Roei, you ascended to the heavens in a storm, with your pure and righteous virtues. Instead of continuing up those stairs to the study hall in Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav, you went up to the Yeshiva Above, a place where no mortal being may enter.”

So it continues.

From his brother:

“He was my brother, but above all, he was my teacher,

“He taught me everything I know,

“Modest and humble, he loved everyone and was devoted to Hashem in Heaven.

“Yes, it was obvious he didn’t belong in this world.

“I sit outside on the grass, in a wide open space,

“And look up at the Heavens, and see his amazing smile among the stars,

“Since he left, my life is without meaning,

“Yes, he is the only one who could have told me what to do in a case like this . . . ”

And so it continues.

Yonadav Chaim Hirshfeld

Yonadav Chaim Hirshfeld
Born, May 26, 1989.
Died, March 6, 2008.
Age, 18.
Point of origin: Unstated.

From his biography:

“He was named after his great-grandfather who established and sponsored the daily Mishnah study program in the US between the years 1969 and 1978. During the shivah, we suddenly recalled that Yonadav took that spark and transformed it into a flame — for Yonadav studied 18 chapters of Mishnah every day.

“When he was still very young, we recognized his goodness. People always said, ‘His name fits him — he has a generous heart.’

“His curiosity and intelligence also became apparent at an early age. As soon as he learned to read, he read encyclopedias (and remembered everything he read).

“He was the type of student who ‘annoyed’ his teachers — he had no proper study habits. Yonadav simply listened to the teacher speak and remembered everything that was said.

“Yonadav hit adolescence at age seven (he was always ahead of himself). Over the course of his elementary school years, he experienced numerous academic and spiritual crises.

“But thank G-d, in the merit of many prayers and help from his teachers, who knew how to utilize his strengths and point him in the right direction, he overcame his difficulties, and his yirat shamayim [fear of Heaven] was well established.

“Yonadav had a healthy, free spirit. He wanted to learn more and more, in all different fields.

“In yeshiva, he worked on his middot [character traits]. When he was younger he would carry a grudge for years. At some point when he was at yeshiva, he overcame his tendency to anger completely. At yeshiva, he became ‘the matmid,’ the diligent one.

“He taught himself to play the recorder, and it became an inseparable part of him — hanging from his neck on an orange ribbon.

“[After he was shot,] Yonadav went down a flight of stairs, and then he collapsed. He was found holding his recorder in one hand and the book Shev Shematata [famous for its complexity] in the other.”

So it continues.

From a classmate:

“I could describe the 12th grader who took the time to talk to 9th graders, or the person who organized a three-day trip to the Golan. You had no qualms about taking a group of 9th graders on a three-day trip. . . .

“Maybe I could write about how diligent you were about keeping up with your Torah study program, and no matter how much time you spent chatting, you wouldn’t leave the beit midrash [the study hall] until you had covered all the material you had originally intended to — even if that meant you didn’t go to be until three in the morning.”

So it continues.

From his teacher:

“His practice of constantly reviewing what he had learned. . . . His bookmark, stained with his blood, moistened the text of the kaddish that is recited after learning Mishnah. Why? Because he was murdered on the 30th day of the month [of Adar]. The 30th was the day he finished a cycle of Shas mishnayot [the totality of the Mishanh, all six division, all 64 tractates]. His bookmark was at the end.”

So it continues.

From his friend:

“I will never forget your humor during the morning seder [the morning Talmud study], your genius, your patience, the love of Torah that was concealed within you.

“I will never forget how you were so careful to treat your great-grandmother, and your grandmother and grandfather with respect.

“I will never forget how you pursued the truth . . . how you clarified all the details of an incident before judging anyone.

“I will never forget your creativity, your maturity, all the wonderful character traits that you concealed behind your wise, endearing smile that said everything, while you didn’t say anything at all.”

And so it continues.

Doron Maharate

Doron Maharate
Born, July 8, 1981.
Died, March 6, 2008.
Age, 26.
Point of origin: Ethiopia; then, after 1991, Kfar Shaonim, Kibbutz Lavi, Kfar Haroeh, and Jerusalem.

From his biography:

“When he went home to visit, he would study with father from the Torah scrolls written in Amharic — the language of Ethiopian Jews. His brothers said that Doron was very close to their father and had long conversations with him about what he learned in yeshiva.

“Doron was able to integrate the teachings of the older generation, who are still faithful to Ethiopian Jewish traditions, with what he was taught in yeshiva. . .

“Doron felt it was very important to reach out to the younger generation, especially within the Ethiopian community, to ensure they observed Torah and mitzvot and adopted Torah-based attitudes. Whenever he went home to visit, he divided his time between pursuing his own course of studies in the Gerrer chasidic shtibl, where he gained a reputation as a diligent Talmud scholar, and teaching the neighborhood children and running contests on their knowledge of Halachah.

“For two years, Doron worked with Ethiopian children in an after-school program . . . . However, when he began to study for his exams toward rabbinic ordination, he realized that he did not have the time to do both at once. Doron didn’t want to stop working at the program, but he knew that if he passed the exams, he would be better prepared to continue spreading and teaching Torah.”

So it continues.

From Doron’s brother:

“Abba is proud that his son had the privilege of studying with the boys who came to console us. He saw their pain. I was at the funeral, and I saw their pain, such a very great pain . . . Doron had a dream of traveling all over the country, to meet Ethiopian youth and bring them back to their roots and their traditions.”

So it continues.

From his friend:

“As you were fixing my phone, we talked, and our last conversation was about some topics you had been studying in your ordination curriculum. We reviewed the different opinions and discussed the comments of the Rishonim and Achronim [medieval and later authorities]. You told me that you were studying the Code of Jewish Law, with the [classic commentaries of] Shach and Taz, and I was in total shock.

“How could it be?

“For you had come from Ethiopia, immigrated to the Holy Land, and endured all the hardships of aliyah and learning a new language. In addition, you had to earn a living.”

So it continues.

From his friends:

“Doron, we miss your innocence,

“The joy that encompassed you,

“Your smile and benevolent expression,

“Your melodies, and your unique melody while studying,

“Your optimism and your willingness to cope with all the difficulties you had to face,

“Your desire to discover the truth,

“Your Oneg Shabbat with food and drink, and sparkling clean clothes,

“Your devotion to your companions, and the friendship that you valued so much,

“‘One whom it is difficult to anger and who is easily appeased, is a saint.’”

From another friend:

“Love of life is replaced by silence

“The song will follow us forever . . .

“The song will remain as an echo . . .

“Until You rise up and show us mercy, until the appointed time arrives.”

Prophet Micah Chapter 5, Verse 4

“ . . . eight princes among men.”



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IJN Editor & Publisher | [email protected]


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